Modjeska and Silverado Canyons and the 2007 Santiago Fire


Canyon resident and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary site manager

Marchella Gilchrist


OH 4144  
Narrator Marcella J. Gilchrist
Interviewer Volker Janssen
Date  June 7, 2008
Language English
Location Modjeska Canyon, Orange County, California
Project 2007 Santiago Fire
Format(s) Audio; Video
Other Field Notes
Abstract An oral history with Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary site manager Marcella Gilchrist, a lifetime Orange County resident. This interview was conducted for the Center for Oral and Public History and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary about the Santiago Fire in Modjeska Canyon in October 2007. The purpose of this interview was to gather information about Gilchrist's life in Orange County, her work at Tucker, and her experiences during the fire. In particular, this interview addresses her youth in Anaheim, family camping trips in the American West; her degree from Saddleback College; her graduate work at California State University, Fullerton in geography and environmental studies; her internship and environmental studies on Santa Cruz Island and the canyons, water quality monitoring; her time in Silverado and her move to Modjeska; the differences between the two canyons; ecology of the canyons; the threat of development to eastern Orange County wilderness; the tension between canyon tranquility and Tucker's interest in attracting visitors; Tucker's children's activity center; the flora and fauna in the canyon; the benefits of life in Modjeska; living with disaster in the canyons; creating defensible space; other fire experiences; climate change and exploitation of the aquifer; preparing Tucker for fire; preparing the sanctuary for special evacuation; getting information from Camp Silverado during evacuation; cleaning up the canyons with church groups and county workers; the work of firefighters; the relationship between county and canyons; fire underground; the trouble with mandatory evacuation; the spring floods; repairing the damage.
Video Parts 1-3 (watch online - coming soon!)
Audio Part 1 (download.mp3)
Part 2 (download.mp3)

This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The Council is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council, visit www.calhum.org.